Crimson Brotherhood - HotDQ
The Original Blurb
Welcome to the Forgotten Realms!
Years ago, local villagers and townsfolk called you the “Protectors of Knightsmark”. The Duke of Greenwood praised your efforts in thwarting a cult and slaying the Gnoll Shaman responsible for the death and fear that was stalking the land. Many friends were lost but you know they will never be forgotten. Thanks to the Duke’s generosity, the newly formed Crimson Brotherhood was able to help the Duchy rebuild and grow and become a place of safety in a land filled with danger.
After this, some members of the Brotherhood left the Duchy to see what the world had to offer, while many stayed for this was their home. Time has passed and now all are returning home to see each other and to celebrate and honour your friends and fallen comrades at a festival the Duke is putting on in honour of the Brotherhood.
The Crimson Brotherhood Campaign is a D&D 4th Edition game set in the Forgotten Realms 100+ years after the spell-plague that ravaged the land. Your character is one of the survivors, a local who banded together with others to defend family and friends many years ago. It has been six years since you have seen those you fought with and you are looking forward to returning home.
The Crimson Brotherhood Campaign started out as a Paragon Level game set in the Forgotten Realms Settings, approximately 100 years after the Spell-plague that ravaged the world. The main location for the campaign is the Duchy of Greenwood, located in the region north of Amn and south of Berdusk. The players were all native to the area and became local heroes when they defeated a cult lead by a Gnoll Shaman who was attempting to conquer the surrounding lands in a rampage of blood and fire (These were the Heroic Level Adventures).
The Duke of Greenwood, himself a retired adventurer, created the ‘Crimson Brotherhood’ and provided a local manor to the group as a base of operations within the Duchy. With the threat eliminated the heroes traveled the Realms (and even places beyond!). Now six years later a reunion of the Brotherhood is only days away. The members all vowed to return for the celebration and as that time draws near, there are strange goings on once more.
The Following Events happen over a approximately a 3 year period and are my assumptions based on the players actions and what they found out before the last session was run.
GM NOTE – It would have been nice to run the adventures i had lined up but campaigns come and go and luckily all the prehistory will not be wasted and will help enhance the new campaign.
The following events are based on actions and events taken by my players during the 1st Crimson Brotherhood Campaign (Paragon Level Game – 4th ED D&D)
Time line Advancement – Approximately 6 to 9 months after the last session of the Crimson Brotherhood Campaign
* Greenest, located in the Barony of Hawthorne, is attacked by forces unknown. People and goods are taken with some damage to property. Members of the Crimson Brotherhood followed the invaders back into the Werewood to a location called Durlag’s Tower. Here the ‘enemy’ had set up a base of operations to terrorise the surrounding area. During the course of the investigation, an uneasy alliance was made with the Were-Creatures of the forest; the two groups worked together to deal with this Demonic force. This resulted in the tower’s destruction as there was an active gate to the Nine Hells in a sub-basement of the tower.
* The demonic forces had also struck out at Fort Morning Lord but this only resulted in troops (some Paladins and other faithful of Torm) helping with the assault on the Tower.
* Because of the good will between the Paladins of Torm and the Duchy, when Trolls attacked the Barony of Therund to the east, forces from Fort Morning Lord were dispatched to help deal with this threat. These Trolls also threatened neighbouring Iriaebor and Berdusk.
* As the month rolled on and with the forces of the Duchy and Elturel nicely tied up, a humanoid invasion force from The Reaching Woods, east of the city of Elturel and next to Scornubel, blitzkrieg’s across the land causing wholesale slaughter. Lead by a group of Gnoll Shamans and their shock troops, the city of Scornubel was quickly besieged.
* Any troops that could be spared by the Duchy of Greenwood and remaining Elthugard forces (Paladins and foot troops) from Fort Morning Lord, with the assistance of Elves from the Forest of Wyrms, valiantly held a defensive line not far from the capital city of Eltruel. In a series of hard fought battles, the capital was saved but the cost was great.
* Meanwhile to the east, the city of Berdusk was also sieged; during this offensive humanoid forces soon stop moving further westward towards Iriaebor (reason unknown), but the devastation left behind is still evident today.
* The town of Scornubel falls to the invading force, and even now many years after the city was liberated, there are whispers saying the city fell so fast because of traitors within its walls. Others have speculated that the fact there was also a Black Dragon with the attacking force, the unprepared defenders were never going to hold out.
* Most of the populace did not escape and it is unknown what happened to the people – the ones that got out of the city used barges to get into the northern part of the Duchy, before the city was encircled. The river also acted as a natural barrier and the invaders continued west and not south.
* Cormyr gained a greater influence to the east in Iriaebor as this war was interrupting valuable trade and food supplies to this nation – it is speculated that this is the real reason the humanoid army did not press the attack east as they did not want to also face the forces of the Purple Dragon.
* Slowly the forces of Greenwood and Elturel pressed back the Gnoll lead army and as they do so the gather intelligence that confirms that the Cult of Roaug, the Scythe Lord is the really behind the invasion.
3 months after the first attacks
* Scornubel is finally liberated and the humanoids are chased back into the forest. What the liberators find makes even the most faithful of Torm hearts soul with despair. Unspeakable acts have been performed on the cities inhabitants that were caught. The streets have run red with blood and it seems the humanoids fed on the captives during and after they were sacrificed. Scornubel is still a ghost city today.
* In a final act of sheer madness, a strike force, around 1000 strong and lead by an Undead Dragon, appear from nowhere and attack towards the heart of the city of Elturel. As part of the attack (and as an ultimate sacrifice is seems), this force brings about the destruction of the Second Sun that always kept the city safe. The force and many of the cities defenders are killed as the sun explodes, destroying with it the Holy Temple of Mornings Light, the main temple of Torm in the region.
Over the following 3 to 6 months
* In the Barony of Therund the Trolls are driven back into the swamp and hills to the east but not before the township of Moonstair is pillaged and laid to waste.
* Elturel starts to rebuild.
* Barony of Therund starts to rebuild.
* Forces of Elturel, the Duchy of Greenwood and Elves from the northern Forest of Wyrms contain and then drive back the Gnolls and their servants deeper into the Reaching Woods.
* Symbols of the Cult of Roaug are found on many of the victims from Scornubel. The army also finds that most of the cities inhabitants have been eaten, partially eaten or just left to rot.
* Progress is slowed as the number of dead must be piled up and burnt to stop the chance of plague and not to give the necromancers of the invaders a chance to raise a fresh army.
* The western half of The Reaching Woods, between the river and the Trielta Hills is finally cleared, though the forest is now deathly silent. The woodcutter villages and elven outposts that once dotted the forest area are no more and there is no sign of any survivors.
* On the eastern side of the river, the many Gnoll tribes now lay claim to the land. The humanoids are well dug in and will be hard to dislodge, but they are contained for the moment.
* There is no word from the towns of Hill’s Edge and Hluthvar to the north east of the Reaching Wood.
* Trade east and west is mainly by river on heavily fortified barges or by the trade road that has taken shape on the southern side of the river. This route is heavily patrolled by the Paladins of Torm and forces of the Duchy.
* Further east around Berdusk, forces from the city, working with Elven Rangers and foot troops from the Duchy, fortify the area to hold back the humanoid attacks. The Paladins and local militia are keep busy, but they do establish armed camps that can quickly defend the area around the city.
* Berdusk keeps trade flowing east and west, thanks to its location on the river and the sacrifice of its defenders.
Over the course of the next 3 months
* The western forest is confirmed to be cleared of all humanoids by the elven rangers. The Paladins make an agreement with the elves of the Forest of Wyrms to let them establish outposts in the forest to help safe guard against future incursions.
* Elsewhere around the lands of Elturel and Greenwood, life has finally returned to normal.
After approximately another 3-6 months
* Moonstair, in the Barony of Therund is totally destroyed as an Undead Horde emerges from the rift, Land’s Mouth. This the the true power of the Cult of Roaug coming to bare on the lands of the south and the Scythe Lord, the Embodiment of Roaug, is leading the attacking forces. The townsfolk and defenders of Moonstair die quickly (oh yes – there were traitors…) and they are added to the horde as it moves west.
* Once reports of the Undead Horde reach Berdusk, the city perpares for another seige which they fear they will not be able to hold against. The Horde has forces moving towards Iriaebor (but this is later found out to be a fend) thus keeping the forces of Cormyr out of the war. The main army marches west destroying all in its way, with the central area of the Barony of Therund suffering greatest, as the Undead Horde does not stop in its march.
* Smaller groups break off from the main army and head west and south. This keeps the forces of the Duchy busy and hides the true purpose for the invasion, which continues to head more northeast towards Fort Morning Lord and Elturel.
* The fend that headed towards Iraibor swings west and sieges Berdusk.
* Scouts confirm what survivors have been telling tales about – at the head of the Undead Horde is the Leader of the Cult of Roaug, the Scythe Lady herself. Reports are that she screams of revenge against the Paladins of Torm for the death of her family (and that she is clearly insane).
* As the Horde travels west leaving a trail of destruction, its vanguard arrives at Fort Morning Lord and in-circles it. The Risen Dead throw themselves against the Fort’s walls and it is the first time that the defenders find out what really happened to the people of Scornubel; they are undead soldiers of the Cult of Roaug. The fort is damaged with the outer walls breached but the internal Keep and Temple hold strong against the on onslaught.
* Elturel is sieged but with such a large attacking force, the city walls are eventually breached and the fighting goes street to street with the object of the Scythe Lady being the new Temple of Torm that is under construction.
* In the final battle, the insane Scythe Lady with her undead Giant and Troll bodyguards lead the way towards the Temple. The Lady curses the Paladins and says they brought this ruin upon themselves – ‘My children died because of you. So shall yours!’.
* In an act of true devotion to Torm, powerful magics are cast and a second sun is created with the High Cleric of Torm and his disciples giving their lives to complete the orbs creation. The Scythe Lady tries to stop the sun’s creation on the back of her Black Dragon but she and the Dragon die as well.
* The sun’s holy light shines down and the battle turns as the undead of the Risen Army wilt under the light of Torm.
* The weaker of the undead die and turn to dust though more powerful are weakened, with fighting continuing for the next few days, but the back of the Horde is broken.
* A sizable group of undead, mainly people that once lived in Scornubel, split from the army and make there way to the ruined city that was once their home.
* The new Sun burns itself out (after a month or two) as the artificat that kept the original burning disappeared during the final attack on the Temple.
* Scornubel is now referred to as the City of the Dead and is closely monitored by scouts day and night.
* The cleanup of Elturel will take many years to complete.
* It is later discovered that the Scythe Lady was a mother from the border of Eltugard and the Duchy that lost her family; first her children to the invasion of the Cult 10 years ago, when a group of Paladins refused to help the village she lived in. Her husband then died fighting for Elturgard and that compounded with the loss of her children, sent her mad and she blamed the Paladins and Torm for everything. Her remaining family tired to help her but her hatred grew so much so that she ended up giving her soul to the exact cult that killed her family. She corrupted her own family and the daughters of the wealthy so that she could sow the seeds of discord throughout the Duchy and Elturel.
* 2 years have now passed since the defeat of the Cult of Roaug (making it between 4-5 years since my last Crimson Brotherhood Campaign Session).
* The session opens with a Dragon attack on Greenest for the start of Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure path.